Public hearing set for controversial Donnay development in Maple Bay

A controversial development project on Donnay Drive was given second reading at North Cowichan’s council meeting on Oct. 5

A controversial development project on Donnay Drive was given second reading at North Cowichan’s council meeting on Oct. 5, and a new public hearing on the proposed subdivision will be held on Oct. 13.

The plan for the subdivision that is on a 2.65-hectare site just north of Maple Bay Elementary School in a mainly rural neighbourhood raised a lot of objections at a previous public hearing held on the issue in June.

Many of the property’s neighbours said at that three-hour hearing that the housing density proposed would be too high for the area, among other issues.

Council decided after that hearing to postpone second reading on the proposal until the council meeting on Oct. 5 to allow councillors time to ask staff some technical questions on the plan.

Dave Devana, CAO of the Municipality of North Cowichan, said that the project’s proponent has revised a number of the details of the plan since the hearing in June to try and alleviate some of the neighbours’ concerns.

He said the proposed housing density of the project has been reduced to 39 units from the original plan for 49, and some of the issues around setbacks and the construction of lanes have been addressed.

“The project would still have the same number of lots [29], but the density would be reduced,” Devana said.

But Coun. Kate Marsh asked that the public hearing be postponed until November because the Committee of the Whole meeting on Oct. 11 is intended to tackle some controversial issues around its Urban Containment Boundary and housing densities in rural areas.

“Having the public hearing on this development just two days after an all-day meeting on the UCB could unfairly impact this proposal,” she said.

Coun. Al Siebring disagreed, stating the public hearing has already been announced and scheduled.

“I’ve walked the area to consider the density concerns, but I think the die was cast when we approved the new school in that neighbourhood,” he said.